Nehru - Toward Freedom (1936).pdf

There has been a progressive increase in his

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There has been a progressive increase in his popularity, and this process still continues. They may not carry out his wishes, 108
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for human nature is often weak, but their hearts are full o good will for him. When objective conditions help, they rise in huge mass move ments; otherwise they lie low. A leader does not create a mass move ment out of nothing, as if by a stroke of the magician's wand. He can take advantage of the conditions themselves when they arise; he can prepare for them, but not create them. There is a waning and a waxing of Gandhiji's popularity among the intelligentsia. In moments of forward-going enthusiasm they follow him; when the inevitable reaction comes, they grow critical. But even so the great majority of them bow down to him. Partly this has been due to the absence of any other effective program. The Liberals and various groups resembling them do not count; those who believe in terroristic violence are completely out of court in the modern world and are considered ineffective and out of date. The socialist program is still little known, and it frightens the upper-class members of the Congress. After a brief political estrangement in the middle of 1924, the old relations between my father and Gandhiji were resumed and they grew even more cordial. However much they differed from one another, each had the warmest regard and respect for the other. What was it that they so respected? Father has given us a glimpse into his mind in a brief foreword he contributed to a booklet called Thought Currents, containing selections from Gandhiji's writings : "I have heard," he writes, "of saints and supermen, but have never had the pleasure of meeting them, and must confess to a feeling of skepticism about their real existence. I believe in men and things manly. The 'Thought Currents' preserved in this volume have emanated from a man and are things manly. They are illustrative of two great attributes of human nature Faith and Strength. . . . " 'What is all this going to lead to?' asks the man with neither faith nor strength in him. The answer 'to victory or death' does not appeal to him. . . . Meanwhile the humble and lowly figure standing erect ... on the firm footholds of faith unshakable and strength unconquer able, continues to send out to his countrymen his message of sacrifice and suffering for the motherland. That message finds echo in millions of hearts. . . ." And he finishes up by quoting Swinburne's lines : Have we not men with us royal, Men the masters of things? . . . 109
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Evidently he wanted to stress the fact that he did not admire Gand- hiji as a saint or a Mahatma, but as a man. Strong and unbending himself, he admired strength of spirit in him. For it was clear that this little man of poor physique had something of steel in him, some thing rocklike which did not yield to physical powers, however great they might be.
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  • Fall '16
  • Alan Kolata

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